Home still where the heart is for first all-female 'Idols SA' top three

Fame can’t make these moms forget their cuddly babies

14 November 2021 - 00:03
The top three contestants on 'Idols SA', from left Karabo Mathe, S’thuthukile Langa and Berenike Trytsman, pose for a portrait in Linden, Johannesburg.
The top three contestants on 'Idols SA', from left Karabo Mathe, S’thuthukile Langa and Berenike Trytsman, pose for a portrait in Linden, Johannesburg.
Image: Alaister Russell

Sunset cruises in Cape Town, personal stylists, vocal coaching, a doctor and a therapist on call. For Karabo, S’22kile and Berry this all ends in seven days.

Sunday Times this week spent an afternoon with the Idols SA top three at their guest house in Johannesburg.

Berry (Berenike Trytsman) from Cape Town, Karabo Mathe from Hebron in North West and S’22kile (S’thuthukile Langa) from Pietermaritzburg have made history as the show's first-ever all-female top three. 

They have a chef, nail technicians, a doctor and a therapist at their disposal. They want for nothing — except electricity. Their temporary home is hidden in a leafy Johannesburg suburb, complete with a swimming pool they are not allowed to use for fear they’ll get sick ahead of next Sunday’s final.  

For mother of four Berry, 31, none of the amenities can replace being away from her husband and children.

“It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve done because you can’t give up and you can’t see them. When I first came here I was really depressed, it was horrible,” Berry said.

They’ve been in the Idols house since the beginning of August. Karabo and Berry have been counting down to when they’ll see their families for longer than the allotted socially distanced 15 minutes.

Karabo, 22, a quality inspector at a glass-making company, said even though every day had been unforgettable, she yearned for her two-year-old daughter’s cuddles.  

“Every day is a highlight to me, sharing a house with these amazing people and having to experience everything. But there’s that moment where I feel like I want to hug my child. So I promised myself that after everything is done and we are able to go back home, I’m going to carry my baby like a handbag, like a backpack wherever I go,” she said.

With their new fame the three have also had to navigate social media, which hasn’t always been kind to them. Karabo has been fat-shamed, S’22kile’s looks have been criticised and Berry has been sworn at and called a granny because of her age.

“Someone came to my Facebook inbox to body-shame me. I feel like it doesn’t affect me anymore. You say that I’m fat — I know. What is that going to change? If you want to say something, find a new word, maybe it will move me or shake me,” Karabo said.

They finish each other’s sentences and laugh at each other’s jokes. But tonight the dream of winning Idols will come to an end for one of them. SA will find out which two contestants will be competing in the show's season finale on November 21.   

Someone starts singing in the kitchen. Moments later S’22kile starts singing Paradise Road. Karabo and Berry join in. They sound like the love child of SA pop group Jamali and America’s Destiny’s Child. Their harmonies are faultless as they sing in unison. But come next Sunday only one of them will be the winner of Idols SA.


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